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A trip to the Miami area isn't complete without a stop in Key Biscayne, just a short – and gorgeous – drive over the Rickenbacker Causeway from the big city.
From sunny beaches to the Ritz-Carlton resort, Key Biscayne offers all the allure of South Florida on a tiny sliver of land.
Key Biscayne has terrific beaches and the added appeal of being sandwiched between two major parks – Crandon Park to the north and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park , named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best beaches in the nation, to the south.
Key Biscayne also offers a nearby coastal barrier reef and the only federally recognized underwater archaeological trail in the United States.
Flying above Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Close to Miami, picturesque island
- Miami International Airport
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Two Must-Do Biscayne National Park Tours
When visiting Biscayne National Park, your first goal should be to get out on the water. That’s because 95% of the park is underwater. Without your own boat, the best way to do this is with one of the Biscayne National Park tours operated by the Biscayne National Park Institute. Whether you are taking a boat tour or doing something more active, such as snorkeling at Biscayne National Park, the water is where you really experience all that the park has to offer.
On our most recent visit, we actually took two different tours: the Snorkel & Paddle Eco-Adventure and the Boca Chita Island Experience. On the snorkel and paddle tour, we had a chance to get in the water and really see the underwater plant and animal life. As you’d expect, it was a physically demanding tour. The Boca Chita Island tour, however, was perfect for those looking for something a bit more relaxed.
Whatever your interests, the Biscayne National Park Institute should be your first stop for exploring the park without your own boat.
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About the Biscayne National Park Institute
The Biscayne National Park Institute is a non-profit partnership between Biscayne National Park and the Florida National Parks Association. The Institute provides tours and educational experiences for visitors while also supporting the goals and needs of Biscayne National Park. The proceeds from the various tours and programs are used directly to support Biscayne National Park.
The Biscayne National Park Institute offers a variety of tours, providing visitors to the park a wide range of experiences. Visitors looking for some adventure can take a snorkel and/or paddle tour. Those looking for a more relaxed tour can take one of the daily boat tours to picturesque Boca Chita Key or a once-a-month evening cruise through Biscayne Bay.
On each tour, you’ll learn about the history and natural world of Biscayne National Park, as well as the surrounding area.
Snorkel & Paddle Eco-Adventure at Biscayne National Park
I’ll be honest, the Snorkel and Paddle Eco-Adventure is probably not a tour that we would have chosen for ourselves. When the folks with the Biscayne National Park Institute reached out to us and suggested this tour, however, we were intrigued. We thought this would be a good opportunity to push ourselves a little and try something different, so we accepted.
While parts of the tour were challenging, we really enjoyed it and highly recommend this tour even if you’re not experienced at paddleboarding or snorkeling. Just make sure you can handle the physical aspects of paddleboarding, even if you have to sit or kneel as we did.
On the 6-hour tour, we spent about 45 minutes getting to the paddleboard location in Jones Lagoon and about two hours paddleboarding through the area. From there, we went over to nearby Adams Key for a picnic lunch.
After lunch, we relocated again for the snorkeling portion of the tour. The captain/tour guide will decide the best location based on the weather and visibility. We ended up on the bay side of one of the keys. We had about an hour to snorkel before heading back to the visitor center.
One of the things we loved most about this tour is that the boat is limited to only six people. This made the experience much more personal than many other tours that we’ve done.
Paddleboarding in Biscayne National Park
While we have both been canoeing and kayaking, this was actually our first time paddleboarding. The hardest part of paddleboarding is keeping your balance when standing. Sitting or kneeling on the board, however, really isn’t that difficult. It can be tough on your knees after a while, though.
Grant attempted to stand a couple of times early on but was never successful. Let’s just say that he figured out the water temperature fairly quickly. I didn’t even attempt to stand until we were close to the end of the tour. I made it upright but was very unsteady. I’ll be honest, I stood long enough for Grant to get a picture, then promptly spent the rest of the tour sitting or kneeling.
What I enjoyed most about this part of the tour was getting to see the underwater plant and animal life up close and personal. Our guide did a great job finding unusual sea creatures, telling us about them and letting us see them up close.
During our paddle, we saw a sea cucumber, a spotted sea hare (a type of large sea slug), a few starfish, many Casseopia jellyfish and a couple of small nurse sharks. Of course, we also saw countless fish and birds.
We paddled all around the lagoon and through mangrove tunnels. At times the water level was so low a few people got off and walked their boards through the seagrass. Most of the time, though, the paddling was fairly easy. Staying balanced while sitting or kneeling was, thankfully, much easier than I expected!
Snorkeling in Biscayne National Park
Grant loves to snorkel and dive. I, however, do not. I’m actually not a fan of open water.
I don’t mind being ON the water – in a boat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. For whatever reason, I don’t like being IN the water. I am actually a fairly good swimmer when it comes to pools. There is something about the vastness of the ocean that is overwhelming, though. I can handle shallow water, as long as I can stand, the water is clear and the bottom is free of plants; I really don’t like walking on seagrass or other plants that could be home to little (or big) critters.
When the park offered this tour and the opportunity for snorkeling in Biscayne National Park, I knew this was something Grant would love. Snorkeling is definitely not my thing, but I didn’t want Grant to miss out on the opportunity.
As expected, Grant took off with the snorkel and explored all over the area. In the open cove, he found plenty of fish and a few pieces of coral. His favorite part was looking in and under the mangroves and finding all the fish taking shelter among the roots.
I, of course, just hung out at the boat. Thankfully, our guide was very understanding. She got out one of the paddleboards which I used to “snorkel” and still have something to keep me “grounded.”
While I didn’t get very far away from the boat, I was able to see a variety of plants and small fish. The highlight was seeing an eel hanging out and swimming through the grass.
I also learned that breathing through a snorkel really isn’t as difficult as I thought it might be.
What to Expect on the Snorkel and Paddle Eco-Adventure
Throughout the boat ride and the paddling, our captain/tour guide provided a history of the park and the area. We learned many great stories of previous island inhabitants and why Biscayne National Park was created.
As we started out from the dock, our boat had some mechanical difficulties. I really have no idea what was wrong, but the captain handled it very well. She acted quickly, without panicking and got us on our way so we could enjoy the day.
Once we reached the paddleboarding location, our guide gave us the basics of how to paddleboard. You certainly do NOT have to have any experience before this tour. In fact, only 2 of the 6 people on the tour had prior paddleboard experience. We spent about 2 hours paddling with little to no shade, so I’d also suggest reef-safe sunscreen and perhaps a long sleeve sun shirt . You can get both of these in the Biscayne National Park gift shop when you check-in for your tour.
You’ll need to bring your own lunch and a water bottle. There was a cooler on board and plenty of water to refill your bottle as needed.
In terms of snorkeling, our guide helped us all to get situated and in the water. We were free to explore on our own, as long as we stayed within sight of the boat. In addition to me not being comfortable snorkeling, there was another couple who I don’t think could even swim. They did not speak English well, so we weren’t sure. The guide did a great job of working with us all to help ensure we still enjoyed the snorkeling portion of the tour.
Boca Chita Island Experience
The three-hour Boca Chita tour is perfect for visitors of all ages. On the 45-minute ride to the key, the tour guide will tell you some of the history of Boca Chita Key and the other keys in Biscayne National Park. Once we arrived, we had about an hour and twenty minutes to explore on our own before returning to the visitor center.
Boca Chita Key is a small island in Biscayne Bay, once owned by Mark Honeywell. In the 1930s, he developed half of the island to include an ornamental lighthouse, a small chapel and a garage. The other half of the island was left natural and today includes a short walking trail.
The Honeywells often hosted parties, with guests making the trek from Miami Beach aboard luxury yachts. Many of the structures still stand today, including the cannon that was fired to announce guests when they arrived at the island! Visitors can climb the 65-foot lighthouse for an impressive view of the island and the surrounding water.
What to Do on Boca Chita Key
We started our Boca Chita Key tour by checking out the view from the lighthouse. Yes, you have to climb the narrow, winding staircase to the top, but it really was not a difficult climb. The view from the top was well worth the small effort to get up there. The blue water of Biscayne Bay provided a picture-perfect sight in all directions.
From the lighthouse, we could also easily see all the private boats, both big and small, tied up in the harbor. When we were there, we spotted what looked like a tugboat converted into a “yacht.” I suppose it is the RVers in us that were fascinated by this.
There is a small man-made beach if you’re interested in sitting out in the sun or swimming.
Next, we headed over to the short trail that runs across the undeveloped side of the island. On the trail, you’ll find plenty of shade from the surrounding trees. Unfortunately, you’ll also likely find more mosquitoes.
The trail used to wrap all the way around the island, but Hurricane Irma destroyed the footbridge, For now, you’ll have to just turn around then retrace your steps back. In all, it took us 15-20 minutes to walk the trail. That was with a few stops for pictures.
There are also plenty of picnic tables if you want to bring lunch with you. We actually brought our lunch but didn’t have time to eat before we had to get back on the boat. By this time, the wind had picked up and clouds had moved in, so the timing ended up being pretty good.
What to Expect on the Boat Ride
The high-speed boat that takes you to Boca Chita Key is mostly covered, with seating around the perimeter. As we boarded, the captain warned us that we may get a little wet, especially if seated towards the front. As predicted, those sitting in the front did get splashed, some more than others.
While a few people did get fairly wet, overall the trip wasn’t that bad and everyone dried out quickly. For the most part, it was a smooth and easy 45-minute trip.
By the time we left Boca Chita Key, the wind had picked up and gray clouds covered the sky. It was obvious to us all that the return trip would be a little rough. Indeed, the winds blew water just about everywhere. Everyone in the first half of the boat was pretty much soaked by the time we returned to dock at the visitor center.
A lot of folks did squeeze in towards the back of the boat for the return trip, but there just wasn’t enough room for everyone to get out of the “splash zone.”
Pro tip: wear lightweight clothing that will dry quickly.
I’d certainly suggest sandals or some sort of shoes that can get wet. How wet you get will depend on where you are sitting and how big the waves are. Just know that you might want a change of clothes by the time you get back.
Other Things to Do at Biscayne National Park
Both of our tours with the Biscayne National Park Institute included great information from the tour guides on the history of the park and its purpose. I would also suggest at least a quick stop at the visitor center, where you’ll find a view exhibits and a park film. The film has a few different parts that provide more information about the underwater life and history of the area.
There is also a short walking trail just off the visitor center. If you don’t have time for a tour or snorkeling in Biscayne National Park, I definitely suggest that you at least walk the trail. The trail should only take you about 10-15 minutes unless you want to spend more time enjoying the fabulous Florida weather or fishing.
If you have your own boat, you can camp on Boca Chita Key or Elliott Key. Both have bathrooms, but no showers.
Final Thoughts on Biscayne National Park Tours
When we first visited Biscayne National Park in 2012, we just stopped at the visitor center and walked the short trail. We did not get out into the water at all. While we were happy to “check it off” as a visit, we knew we didn’t really get to experience what the park is all about.
Getting to do a couple of tours with the Biscayne National Park Institute really was the best way to experience what this park has to offer. We truly enjoyed snorkeling at Biscayne National Park. Since the vast majority of the park is underwater, that really is the best way to see all the plants and animals that make a home there.
If you’re more like me and prefer to stay above water, the boat tours offer much of the same history with a lot less physical activity. Boca Chita Key may not be big but we had a great time exploring. And, it really is one of the most picturesque places we visited in the park.
We enjoyed everything about our tours with the Biscayne National Park Institute and highly recommend them both.
A special thanks to the Biscayne National Park Institute for sponsoring our Snorkel and Paddle Eco-Adventure tour. To clarify, we paid for the Boca Chita Key tour ourselves. As always, all opinions are our own.
Looking for more on the Florida National Parks? Check out our articles on Visiting Florida’s Northeast Parks , Things to Do in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve and our Guide to the South Florida National Parks .
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The 8 Best Things to Do in Key Biscayne
Between bars and restaurants, dog-friendly spots, stunning Florida architecture, and recreational and leisure activities, there’s plenty to do around Key Biscayne. To get there, hop in a car or grab a bike and pedal over the bridge from mainland Miami's Coconut Grove area. Sunshine and cocktails will be waiting on the other side.
Make Your Way to One of the Island’s Many Beaches
There are plenty of beaches to choose from here, but if you've got a fur baby, head to Hobie Beach. There might not be anything nicer than some fresh fruit, a good book, and your best bud—but don’t forget the sunblock because it can get real hot here. Park yourself under a shady tree and head to the water when you and your four-legged friend need to cool down.
Get a Drink at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
If you’re feeling fancy, why not act fancy? The Ritz-Carlton’s lobby bar, RUMBAR, will transport you to a 1940s Havana-style bar with Latin music, high ceiling fans, dark wood details, and a live band some nights. Order whatever you want; they serve up over 85 different kinds of rum, piscos, cachacas, and more. All cocktails—including the black and blue and classic mojitos—are made with fresh fruits and ingredients.
Discover the Cape Florida Lighthouse
Cape Florida Lighthouse (also known as El Farito) is on the south side of Key Biscayne. Built in 1825, it was used to guide fishermen and mariners in the 1800s. Today, the lighthouse is the oldest-standing structure in Miami-Dade County and a must-see on a trip to Key Biscayne. It's open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feel free to climb to the top; it’s about a 10-minute walk and comfortable shoes, though not required, are encouraged.
Explore the Miami Marine Stadium
Built on Virginia Key in the 1960s, this was the first stadium used for powerboat racing in the United States. After Hurricane Andrew, though, it was deemed unsafe. It wasn’t until very recently that it began to be revitalized and used for special events again, including the Miami Boat Show and the Mack Cycle Key Biscayne Trilogy. On non-event days, the Stadium may be closed, but you can still get a good look at it—in all its graffiti-covered glory—from the nearby boat dock and beach.
Take a Self-Guided Architecture Tour
Quite a few celebrities—Latin pop stars included—live here, so you will undoubtedly see some stunning houses while you're in town. If you're a fan of "Scarface," head to 484 West Matheson Drive to check out the movie's iconic multi-million dollar mansion. So grab a golf cart, bike, or car and take yourself on an architecture tour around Key Biscayne.
Play Some Watersports
Key Biscayne’s beaches have all the water activities your heart could possibly desire. Grab a canoe or kayak and head out to the mangroves for some birdwatching. Keep your eyes open for reptiles and other marine life, too. If windsurfing or paddleboarding sounds like fun, you can do that as well.
Eat a Whole Fish at Boater’s Grill
Overlooking No Name Harbor, Boater’s Grill boasts views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami’s high rises. There are tons of tasty seafood options on the menu, including paella, ceviche, and lobster—but the real star here is the whole fried snapper. Caught locally, this two- to three-pound fish is fresh, crispy, and nearly the size of your head; expect to leave stuffed and happy. Note: If you come here during the day, you will have to pay a $5 entrance fee to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Boat Out to Stiltsville
If you want to do something out of the ordinary, hop on a boat and head to Stiltsville. This historic site is in the middle of the sea, just two miles from shore. Once home to 27 houses—some of which were allegedly used during Prohibition to store illegal liquor shipments from the Bahamas—only seven still stand today. The brightly-colored remnants of houses are sure to put a smile on your face, so be sure to snap some pictures for perfect Instagram-fodder.
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East and Southern US , Florida · August 25, 2022
4 Fun Things to do in Key Biscayne, Florida
Key Biscayne, Florida is a charming laid-back town located on one of Miami’s barrier islands. It is a short 15-minute drive from downtown Miami but feels like it’s a world away. Cross over the Rickenbacker Bridge and spend a day exploring the best things to do in Key Biscayne!
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product or book a tour through the link then we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support!
Best Things to do in Key Biscayne, Florida
1. Rent a boat and explore the bay
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Key Biscayne, I would highly recommend renting a boat.
We rented a boat through Boatsetter and picked it up at the Rickenbacker Marina in Key Biscayne.
The Marina is centrally located in Biscayne Bay with plenty to see in the area.
The boats are listed by private owners so the type of boat and pricing will vary.
We rented an 8-seater Bayliner for 3 hours. The cost was $100 per hour plus service fees and gas.
You don’t need to have boating experience to rent a boat. The bay is mostly calm with quite a few wakeless zones so you can take it slow.
The owner will also meet you at the marina to give you instructions and a safety briefing.
If you were born before 1988, you only need a valid driver’s license. If you were born after 1988 then Florida law requires that you take a boater education course.
Instead of renting a boat, you can also take a guided tour of the bay on a vintage yacht , or take a millionaire home tour for only $30!
Star Island Miami
Once you head out into the bay, I would recommend checking out Star Island.
This artificial island is home to some of Miami’s wealthiest residents. J. Lo, P. Diddy, and Lisa Hochstein from Real Housewives are just a few celebrities who have houses here.
Here is a map of the different celebrity homes on Star Island and around Miami.
Visitors are allowed to drive to Star Island, but it is so much better to see it from the water.
From the street, most of the homes are shrouded in trees and security gates, so you get a much better view from the water of the ostentatious mansions and yachts.
Chance are you’ll even see some real Miami dolphins playing in the bay!
The Miami skyline is also spectacular from the water.
From this vantage point, you’ll be able to soak in the unobstructed views of the city.
And did you know that Miami has a river that runs right through downtown?
The Miami River flows for 5.5 miles from the Everglades all the way to Biscayne Bay.
You can follow the river upstream where the banks are lined with towering buildings and fancy yachts.
And if you’re looking for more things to do in Miami, check out our guide How to Spend 48 Hours in Miami!
There are several sandbars in Biscayne Bay that attract party-goers on the weekends.
On any given weekend during low tide, you will find hundreds of boats anchored near the sandbar. It’s quite a party with music, swimming, drinking, and even floating food stands and delivery boats.
One of the most popular sandbars is Nixon Beach Sandbar, named for its location near Pres. Nixon’s former south Florida home.
You can find the sandbar just off the west coast of Key Biscayne near Hurricane Harbor.
Bear Cut Sandbar is a little quieter and better suited for families. It is located on the northern tip of Key Biscayne in a protected reserve.
For years, the Haulover Sandbar has been the most popular sandbar in Miami. However, in 2021 the city announced plans to dredge the sandbar later that year.
If you’re getting hungry while you’re on the water, you can dock your boat at the Boater’s Grill right on the waterfront.
Their specialty dish is a freshly caught snapper that is fried whole.
The Rusty Pelican is also located on the water at Rickenbacker Marina with beautiful views over the bay.
For another fun water activity, try kayaking to the Emerald Cut at King’s Landing near Orlando!
2. Eat breakfast at the Donut Gallery Diner
The Donut Gallery Diner has been a beloved Key Biscayne landmark for the past 50 years.
It was first opened in 1972 by the Zambrano family when they immigrated from Cuba. It is still run by the same family today.
The unassuming diner is tucked into the corner of a strip mall.
At first glance, it may not seem like much. However, this small family-owned diner is a neighborhood favorite among locals and tourists alike.
The walls are lined with photos of happy customers over the years. A few repeat customers even include Andy Garcia and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.
The no-nonsense diner serves up hearty homecooked breakfast and lunch dishes every day from 6 am to 3 pm.
You can find classic favorites on their menu like french toast, pancakes, omelets, sandwiches, and burgers. But one thing you won’t find is donuts, which can be a bit misleading given the name.
But the one thing that you should order is the famous Ted Special. lt consists of a toasted English muffin topped with bacon, ham, tomato, fried egg, and melted cheese.
Ted’s Special even made Thrillist’s list of ’50 Things You Need to Eat in Miami Before You Die’.
The cozy cafe has bar stools at the grill where you can watch each dish being cooked fresh to order. The food is delicious and affordable, and the service is fast and friendly!
*Related post: And if you’re planning to visit Harry Potter World while in Florida, then check out our guide The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Photos & Tips !
3. Relax on the beach at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs State Park is a bit of a hidden gem. Escape the crowds at Miami’s South Beach, and head to the white sand beaches and warm crystalline waters of Key Biscayne.
This state park features a one-mile-long pristine beach that often ranks as one of the top 10 beaches in the US.
You’ll also find a historic 1800s lighthouse.
The Cape Florida Lighthouse was constructed in 1825 and is considered the oldest structure in Miami-Dade.
It has survived dozens of hurricanes and natural erosion over the past 200 years and still stands today.
Guided tours of the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage are available Thursday thru Monday at 10 am and 1 pm. The tours are free with your $8 park entrance fee.
The beach at the base of the lighthouse is lined with bright blue umbrellas and chairs that can be rented for $30 cash only for the duration of your visit.
4. Take a tour of Stiltsville
Did you know that there is an abandoned ghost town that appears to be floating about a mile off the shore of Key Biscayne?
Stiltsville was a renegade village on stilts back in the 1930s towards the end of the Prohibition Era. Gambling and Liquor flowed freely in this floating village of sorts.
Stiltsville can be found about a mile south of the southern tip of Key Biscayne. The structures are built on a sandbar where the water is only a few feet deep.
Dolphins can often be seen playing in the warm shallow water.
At its peak, there were 27 structures, including some of Miami’s most popular social clubs. Particularly, the Bikini Club.
It became a playground for Miami’s rich and famous and was even rumored to be a favorite hangout of Al Capone’s.
Over the years, hurricanes and fires destroyed most of the structures. In fact, a fire destroyed a structure just last year resulting in only 6 vacant houses remaining.
Stiltsville is protected and preserved as part of Biscayne National Park.
While you can’t go inside the buildings, you can take a narrated boat tour to cruise around the abandoned structures and hear some interesting stories.
Or consider a sunset sail that takes you around the bay to see the lighthouse and Stiltsville. You can also book a tour through the National Park Institute , but they are only offered on the weekends.
If you would like to visit Stiltsville on your own via a boat or kayak, you’ll need to request a permit in advance.
It really is one of the most unique ghost towns we’ve ever seen!
Other things to do in Key Biscayne:
If you have extra time, here are a few more things to do in Key Biscayne, Florida
- Rent a bike: One of the best ways to explore Key Biscayne is by bike. There are almost 9 miles of bike lanes and developed biking trails around the island. Depending on how much time you have, you can rent a bike near Crandon Park and ride all the way down to the lighthouse, or bike around the Bear Cut Preserve.
- Snorkel around a sunken ship: The Half Moon Archeological Site is located northeast of Key Biscayne. It is the site of a submerged racing yacht. It is located only 3-4 feet below the surface and the artificial reef makes for a great place to snorkel. This underwater archaeological preserve is a Florida Heritage Site open to the public. A few options to visit include a guided jet ski tour , a snorkel tour , or you can rent your own jet skis.
- Explore an abandoned zoo: The remains of Miami’s first zoo can be found at the Crandon Park Zoo Ruins . It is rumored that a traveling circus broke down here in Miami in 1948 and the animals were purchased by the city. A small zoo was created but unfortunately, many of the animals died during Hurricane Betsy. Today, visitors can walk around the overgrown gardens to see abandoned animal enclosures and wandering peacocks and iguanas.
- Farmer’s Market: If you’re visiting on a Saturday, stop by the Key Biscayne Farmer’s Market from 9 am to 2 pm where you can pick up ingredients for a beach picnic. You’ll find more than 40 vendors selling food and goods from around the world.
- Stay at the Ritz Carlton: The Ritz Carlton is the best place to stay in Key Biscayne. The luxurious resort sits right on the shore of the sugary white beach. If you plan to spend a few days in Key Biscayne, the location and amenities are top-notch. Or, you can just stop by and grab a bite to eat at their beachfront restaurant, Cantina Beach, or the 1940s Havana-style RUMBAR in the lobby.
- Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: Tour this incredible villa that once belonged to business tycoon James Deering. This 1916 waterfront estate has 32 decorated rooms, 10 acres of manicured gardens, and an incredible pool and grotto. Scenes from several blockbuster movies were even filmed here including Ace Ventura, Godfather II, Scarface, Iron Man3, and more.
I hope this guide has helped you discover the best things to do in Key Biscayne, Florida!
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Explore Biscayne National Park by water and learn about the parks eco systems and history. Watch the clear waters glide by and look for Dolphins and Turtles. Cruise by the houses of Stiltsville and see the Iconic Lighthouses from the water.
When the cold fronts make exploring the Atlantic Ocean reefs impossible, we still enjoy the calm waters of the bay. Your captain explains why mangroves, grasses, and hardpan are all vital to the health of the local ecosystems. We want to share the beauty this area and show how we can be good stewards of the National Park, preserving its unique habitats for generations to come. And most importantly, we can have a blast doing it! Explore our sailing tours in Biscayne National Park below!
- Departs From: Homestead
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Heritage of Biscayne Cruise
Hear the stories of Biscayne as you cruise across the Bay and along the islands of the northern most Florida Keys. Includes a stop at either Boca Chita Key, Elliott Key, or Adams Key.
- Departs From: Coconut Grove
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Boca Chita Key Heritage Cruise from Coconut Grove
Departing from Coconut Grove visiting the iconic Boca Chita Key and Stiltsville.
- Departs From: Deering Estate
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- Hour Glass 4 Hours
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Deering Estate Lighthouses Boat Cruise
Depart from Deering Estate and experience Biscayne National Park in a new light!
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Evening Bay Cruise
Join us daily for an evening sunset cruise into Biscayne Bay from November to March.
- Hour Glass 2 Hours
Stiltsville Guided Tour from Coconut Grove
Journey through the northern most part of Biscayne National Park to the alluring historic Stiltsville houses.
Evening Cruise from Coconut Grove
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9700 SW 328th Street Sir Lancelot Jones Way Homestead, FL 33033
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Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tours
Picture yourself cruising along the sparkling waters of Miami, basking in the tropical sun, and feeling the gentle breeze on your face. Experience the ultimate tropical escapade by booking a Miami Key Biscayne boat tour .
Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you explore the stunning Key Biscayne coastline and discover hidden gems that only the locals know about. Whether you’re a seasoned seafarer or a first-time sailor, these boat tours offer something for everyone.
Welcome to Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours!
Welcome to Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours , your premier destination for the best boat rental experiences in Miami, FL. As the #1 Boat Rental with Captain in South Florida, we take pride in offering the most reliable and enjoyable boat rentals to make your time on the water truly unforgettable.
At Aquarius, we own all the boats we rent, ensuring the highest level of quality and safety for our customers. Whether you’re looking for a fun boat for up to 6 people or a giant boat for up to 10 passengers, we have the perfect vessel to meet your needs.
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Explore the Miami Waters
When you choose Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours, you gain access to the stunning waters of Miami. From the turquoise blue of Biscayne Bay to the vibrant nightlife of Miami Beach , there’s so much to explore and discover.
With our experienced captains, you can venture to popular destinations like Key Biscayne, where you can soak up the sun on beautiful beaches and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Miami skyline. Or, you can cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway, taking in the luxurious waterfront homes and iconic landmarks.
For those seeking adventure, head out to the open ocean for deep-sea fishing or snorkeling at the nearby coral reefs. The options are endless when you have a boat at your disposal.
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Renting a boat with Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours offers numerous benefits. Firstly, you have the freedom to create your own boating adventure. Our experienced captains can guide you to the best spots in Miami, or you can choose your own destinations. Whether you want to relax and sightsee or have a boat party with friends, we have you covered.
Additionally, renting a boat allows you to escape the crowded beaches and explore secluded coves and hidden gems that can only be accessed by water. Imagine having a pristine beach all to yourself or discovering a secret snorkeling spot where you can swim with colorful marine life.
Furthermore, renting a boat is a cost-effective option compared to owning one. You don’t have to worry about maintenance, storage, or insurance costs. Simply book your boat rental with Aquarius and enjoy the freedom of boating without the hassle.
At Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours, we believe in transparent pricing . There are no hidden fees when you book with us. The captain fee is already included in the displayed price on our website.
You’ll know exactly what you’re paying for, and there won’t be any surprises when you arrive at the dock. We strive to provide a straightforward and hassle-free booking process, so you can focus on enjoying your boating experience .
Booking Made Easy
Booking your boat rental with Aquarius is a breeze. You can easily reserve your boat online and start planning your Miami boating experience with confidence.
Simply visit our website, select your desired date and time, choose the boat that suits your needs, and complete the booking process. If you have any questions or need assistance, our friendly team is always ready to help.
What Our Customers Say
Our commitment to providing exceptional service is reflected in the glowing reviews from our satisfied customers. With over 300 five-star reviews, you can trust that your experience with us will be nothing short of extraordinary.
Our customers rave about the professionalism and knowledge of our captains, the cleanliness and quality of our boats, and the overall experience of exploring Miami’s waters with Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours.
“Renting a boat with Aquarius was the highlight of our Miami vacation! The captain was friendly and knowledgeable, and the boat was in pristine condition. We had a blast exploring the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay. Highly recommend!” – Emily S.
“Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours exceeded our expectations. The booking process was seamless, and the staff was incredibly helpful. The boat was equipped with everything we needed for a day of fun, and the captain took us to the best spots in Miami. We’ll definitely be back!” – John D.
For any inquiries or to book your boat rental, feel free to call or text us at 786-636-1008 or email us at [email protected]. You can find us docked at 5225 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
Discover the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tours
Explore Miami’s beautiful waters and scenic views with Aquarius Boat Rental & Tours. Whether it’s a special occasion, a family outing, or just a day of fun on the water, we’re here to make it an incredible boating adventure. Trust the best and book your Miami boat rental with Aquarius today!
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Key Takeaways: Tropical Escapade – Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tours
- Discover the beauty of Miami’s Key Biscayne through exciting boat tours.
- Experience the tropical vibes and stunning landscapes while cruising on the crystal-clear waters.
- Get up close with the diverse marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and colorful fishes.
- Learn about the rich history and culture of Key Biscayne from knowledgeable tour guides.
- Create unforgettable memories with family and friends as you explore this tropical paradise.
What is included in the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tours?
Our Tropical Escapade cruising on our Miami Key Biscayne boat tours offers a comprehensive experience that includes a variety of exciting features. Firstly, you will embark on a comfortable and well-equipped boat, with experienced and knowledgeable guides who will be with you throughout the tour. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to explore the stunning Key Biscayne area, known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Additionally, our boat tours provide the chance to see various marine wildlife, such as dolphins, manatees, and colorful tropical fish. We also offer snorkeling equipment for those who want to dive into the underwater world and discover the vibrant coral reefs. Lastly, refreshments and snacks are provided on board, ensuring you stay hydrated and energized throughout the tour.
How long does the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tour last?
The duration of the tropical escapade ranges from 1-8 hours. We recommend booking a Miami Key Biscayne boat tour for at least 3 hours. This allows for ample time to explore the highlights of the Key Biscayne area, encounter marine wildlife, and enjoy snorkeling activities. Our experienced guides will ensure that you make the most of your time on the tour and have a memorable experience.
It’s important to note that the duration of the tour may vary slightly depending on weather conditions and other factors. We strive to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all participants, and our guides will make necessary adjustments to ensure a safe and fulfilling tour.
Is the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tour suitable for all ages?
Yes, our Miami Key Biscayne boat tour is suitable for all ages. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, our boat tour offers something for everyone. Children will be fascinated by the opportunity to see dolphins and other marine wildlife up close, while adults can enjoy the breathtaking views and snorkeling activities.
We provide a safe and comfortable environment on board, with life jackets available for all participants. Our guides are experienced in catering to different age groups and will ensure that everyone has a memorable and enjoyable experience during the tour.
What should I bring for the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tour?
When booking a Miami Key Biscayne boat tour, we recommend bringing the following items:
1. Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by applying sunscreen before and during the tour.
2. Hat and sunglasses: Shield your eyes and face from the sun to stay comfortable throughout the tour.
3. Swimwear: If you plan on snorkeling, don’t forget to bring your swimwear.
4. Towel: Bring a towel to dry off after swimming or snorkeling.
5. Camera: Capture the beautiful sights and wildlife you encounter during the tour.
6. Water bottle: Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle.
7. Snacks: While snacks are provided on board, you can bring additional snacks if desired.
By bringing these essentials, you’ll be prepared for a fantastic and comfortable experience on the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tour.
Are reservations required for the Tropical Escapade: Miami Key Biscayne Boat Tour?
Yes, reservations are required for any of our tropical escapades. Due to the popularity of our tours and limited availability, we recommend making your reservation in advance to secure your spot. Reservations can be made online through our website or by contacting our customer service.
By making a reservation, you will have peace of mind knowing that your spot is secured and you won’t miss out on this incredible experience. Our team will provide you with all the necessary information and ensure a smooth booking process.
So there you have it, folks! Our Miami Key Biscayne boat tours offer the perfect tropical escapade for those craving adventure and relaxation. With their stunning views, crystal-clear waters, and knowledgeable guides, these tours are a must-do for anyone visiting Miami.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a thrill-seeker, or simply looking to unwind and soak up the sun, these boat tours have something for everyone. Explore the lush mangroves, spot exotic marine life, and bask in the beauty of the Key Biscayne coastline.
But it’s not just about the sights. The experience itself is what sets these boat tours apart. Imagine cruising along the azure waters, feeling the salty breeze on your face, and sipping on a refreshing drink as you take in the breathtaking scenery. It’s a truly immersive and memorable experience that will leave you wanting more.
Don’t miss out on this tropical adventure. Book your Miami Key Biscayne boat tour today and embark on a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a group of friends, these tours are guaranteed to exceed your expectations and provide the ultimate tropical escapade. So pack your sunscreen, put on your shades, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in the heart of Miami’s paradise.
Home » Travel Guides » United States » Florida (FL) » 15 Best Things to Do in Key Biscayne (FL)
15 Best Things to Do in Key Biscayne (FL)
Visiting this upscale island paradise, I had to remind myself that I was 15 minutes from downtown Miami. Bookended by a state park and sprawling county park, Key Biscayne feels a lot more secluded than it really is.
To the south is Cape Florida, commanded by a lighthouse that has stood here for 200 years. In the north is Crandon Park, rolling together a sublime beach, natural habitats and a month’s worth of recreation possibilities.
The first place to be evacuated in hurricanes, Key Biscayne may appear to be at the mercy of the ocean. When you’re here everything feels gentler than that. Crandon Beach is shielded by a sandbar, while a profusion of reefs is ready to be explored on diving trips.
1. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
This spellbinding landscape encompasses Cape Florida on the south end of Key Biscayne. If you’re looking for a natural-style beach without leaving Miami, this is the place to come.
On the eastern, ocean side, the beach at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is one of a couple on Key Biscayne to be rated among the best in the country.
In addition to its awe-inspiring shoreline and amazing ocean vistas, the state park is home to the iconic lighthouse, which I’ll describe later in this list.
The best way to navigate the park, and its tangle of paved trails is by bike, with rentals available from the concession. Some of the paths lead to the western, bay side of the cape.
Here you can scan the water for manatees, and bask in sunsets that need to be seen to be believed.
2. Cape Florida Light
The oldest structure in Miami-Dade is the solemn 95-foot lighthouse near the apex of Cape Florida.
Completed in 1825, this structure needed to be rebuilt in the 1840s following an attack during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).
Cape Florida Light has a lot of stories to tell, including a litany of hurricanes, coastal erosion, and a long period of deactivation between 1878 and 1978.
You can tour the tower at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, Thursday through Monday. For me, the vistas are some of the finest in Florida, encompassing Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, and a swath of the Atlantic.
3. Crandon Park
Much of the northern half of Key Biscayne is covered by a spectacular public park, more than 800 acres in size.
Crandon Park is a veritable wonderland, with a dreamlike beach on the ocean side. I’ll talk about the beach itself below.
The remainder of the park has an awesome array of amenities. To list a few, there’s a marina, a golf course, a family amusement center, a nature center, numerous picnic shelters, and kiteboard and kayak rentals from the north concession.
For more than 30 years up to 2018, the 27-court Tennis Center at Crandon Park was the venue for the Miami Open.
Wandering the park’s trails you’ll be confronted by an incredible variety of animals. Sandhill cranes and peacocks seem to go where they please, and you’re sure to see at least a few iguanas.
4. Crandon Beach
I saved an extra entry to go into a bit more detail on the palm-dotted beach at Crandon Park. Two miles long, this is often rated as one of the best, not just in Florida, but in the entire United States.
A few elements come together to make this such a prized location. You’ve got dazzling white sands, a meandering promenade, plentiful concession stands, and a lot of spots where you can take a picnic.
Looking at the surf, you’ll notice an absence of crashing waves, despite the exposure. This is explained by long sandbars, which keep the waters calm.
At low tide these create shallow pools for little ones to play in. And, when the tide is up, you’ll be able to wade out a surprisingly long way.
5. Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Bay Nature Center
The north end of Crandon Park is a natural haven, with more than 160 acres of mangroves, dunes, uplands, and fossilized rock reef.
This is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Bay Nature Center, named for an environmentalist who dedicated much of her life to preserving south Florida’s wild areas.
Though it’s possible to see the Miami skyline from the center, in many ways, it’s worlds away. For kids the center is an excellent place to learn about the Miami area’s ecosystems. This can be done on self-guided visits, or on a naturalist-led program.
Meanwhile, I was astonished by the indoor exhibits. These include a variety of mangrove and saltwater aquariums, as well as a touch tank containing tidepool species.
6. Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
Between Key Biscayne and downtown Miami is another barrier island at Virginia Key. Despite being minutes from a bustling urban center, the beach at Virginia Key can feel secluded.
This spot has an intriguing past, founded in segregation. Following a protest at the ‘whites only’ Haulover Beach in the 1940s, this park was set aside for the Black community.
Later, another protest helped put an end to segregation on Miami-Dade Beaches. The park fell into decline later in the century, until a multimillion-dollar project helped restore the idyllic shoreline.
Less of an ocean beach, this stretch of shore is ideal for activities like paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and kayaking. If you’re here just to relax, there’s a narrow sweep of white sand, edged by palms and mangroves.
As there’s a bay-like feel to this spot, my common sense advice is bring mosquito repellent.
7. Diver’s Paradise
Based at the Crandon Park Marina is a dive center with a reputation that goes well beyond Miami’s borders.
Diver’s Paradise has a pair of Newton dive boats that are used by visiting film crews as well as the University of Miami when conducting vital research.
The center offers classes for keen divers working towards certifications. Meanwhile, with dozens of wrecks and the world’s barrier reef system, this can be your gateway to a world of unforgettable diving experiences.
If you’re up for lighter you can also join a snorkeling expedition to discover the natural wonders of the reef, or a mangrove island.
8. Nixon Beach Sandbar
One famous winter visitor to Key Biscayne was the 37th president of the United States, Richard Nixon (1913-1994).
On the bay-side of the island, I’m wild about the sandbar that gets its name from the president, whose now demolished compound was located close by on Bay Lane.
From above the sandbar shows up as a lighter patch of clear, shallow water at the entrance to Hurricane Harbor.
Naturally, the only way to get there is by boat. And the combination of downtown views, seclusion and warm, glimmering waters make this a famed party spot in the Miami area.
9. Ritz-Carlton Spa, Key Biscayne
Something that might make your time in an island paradise like Key Biscayne even more special is a visit to a day spa.
My pick is the resort spa at Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. For one thing, this has a fabulous setting, with views over the Atlantic Ocean, along with a stunning pool and fitness center.
The facility is endowed with Caribbean glamor, and has decor relating the story of Miami’s Tequesta Native Americans.
To continue that theme, you can opt for a Tequesta Ritual treatment. Rooted in the traditions of a native American detoxifying ritual, this package involves an algae wrap, detoxifying aromatherapy massage, and scalp massage.
10. Rickenbacker Causeway Beach
Parallel to the Rickenbacker Causeway on Virginia Key, I’ve seen this alluring strip of sand given a few different names.
I’ve seen it described as Dog Beach and Windsurfer Beach, and both are accurate descriptors. All year-round this is a dog-friendly beach, while the gentle waters and healthy breezes make it a paradise for windsurfers.
Next to the Miami Seaquarium, the beach is angled towards the southwest. The Rickenbacker Trail passes behind, and there’s a string of palms, food trucks/concession stands, and watersports businesses.
I haven’t even mentioned the views, which include a big slice of downtown Miami.
11. Crandon Golf Course
The only public golf course on Biscayne Bay can be found in Crandon Park. This 18-hole championship facility is entwined in nature on the bay side of the island.
For close to 20 years, Crandon Golf Course was a stop on the Senior PGA Tour. Also, between 1997 and 2004 the Champions Tour’s Royal Caribbean Golf Classic took place here.
There’s an abundance of tropical vegetation all around, from mangroves to swaying palms. And, in keeping with the rest of Crandon Park, there’s a lot of wildlife, from iguanas to wading birds.
As well as being beautiful, the course is not a track to take lightly. This is especially true for the 7th, a scenic but devilish par 4 with a dogleg right over pristine blue water.
12. Rickenbacker Trail
Something that never ceases to amaze me about Key Biscayne is the ease with which you can get here by bicycle.
Starting in southern Miami, the Rickenbacker Trail crosses the causeway and continues down Crandon Boulevard for almost nine miles.
Despite the proximity of road traffic, the views are out of this world. In turn you’ll get glimpses of the Miami skyline, pristine beaches, Biscayne Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The trail is safe, protected from SR-913 by a concrete barrier on the bridges, and eventually taking you all the way to the tip of the cape.
13. Key Biscayne Village Green Park
The village’s community park is located at the very center of town. Though not as large as the massive waterfront parks bookending the village, it’s a popular outdoor spot, especially for those with kids.
My little ones had a blast at the interactive splash fountain here. For parents who’d rather watch from a safe distance than join in the fun, there are shaded seating areas nearby.
For everyone else, Village Green Park is a gentle kind of place for a stroll. There’s a promenade crossing the park, and passing an exquisite fountain, traced by tree-shaded benches.
Lastly, residents can take advantage of the full-service community center here, with an indoor pool and gymnasium.
One of the more haunting sights that you’ll see atop Cape Florida Light is Stiltsville. This is a constellation of abandoned buildings, stranded in the bay a little more than a mile offshore.
The structures were built decades ago as a way for shady entrepreneurs to get around booze and gambling laws that didn’t extend past the shoreline. In its heyday in 1960 there were almost 30 structures in Stiltsville.
Many of these have since been destroyed in hurricanes and fires. The survivors are preserved by a local non-profit organization. When I was on Key Biscayne, I counted six still standing.
If you want to take a closer look, Stiltsville is served by a number of boat tours, mostly departing from Miami.
15. Key Biscayne Chamber Visitors Center
A block south of Village Green Park, you can head to the Village Hall for travel tips. A real asset for anyone who has just arrived, the Key Biscayne Chamber Visitors Center is staffed Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
So you can stop by for one-to-one advice on attractions, dining, tours, lodging, activities, and much more.
Even if you pass by when the center is closed, you can still step inside the foyer. Open 24 hours, this space is stocked with maps, guides, magazines, brochures, flyers, and much more to help you plan your stay.
15 Best Things to Do in Key Biscayne (FL):
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
- Cape Florida Light
- Crandon Park
- Crandon Beach
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Bay Nature Center
- Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
- Diver's Paradise
- Nixon Beach Sandbar
- Ritz-Carlton Spa, Key Biscayne
- Rickenbacker Causeway Beach
- Crandon Golf Course
- Rickenbacker Trail
- Key Biscayne Village Green Park
- Key Biscayne Chamber Visitors Center
THE 10 BEST Key Biscayne Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Scuba & snorkeling in key biscayne.
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- Up to 1 hour
- 1 to 4 hours
- 4 hours to 1 day
- Bayside Marketplace
- Lincoln Road
- Dolphin Water Sport
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